Monday, March 28, 2011

April 2011 - Water Gap 200/300

************************ Update #4 (4/1/11) *********************
The event is on as scheduled for this Saturday, April 2.  However, the start time has been changed to 6AM, which is right around first light.  This will make it easier to spot any icy patches that may have formed in the overnight hours.  This will also allow for things to warm up a bit more as you head over Blue Mountain at Little Gap. The cuesheets will be updated later today with the new start time, but you can use the current one if you've already have printed it out (just add an hour to all the open/close times listed).

************************ Update #3 (3/31/11) *********************
Due to the potential for a significant snowfall in the Poconos in northeastern PA, there is a good chance that the event will need to be postponed.  A final determination will be made after it stops snowing around midday on Friday.

************************ Update #2 (3/29/11) *********************
Ron Anderson has arranged to borrow a complete set of the PBP Compliant Reflective Vests and have them available this weekend for size checks and color preference selection. See Ron early Saturday morning to express interest and place an order. Thanks to Bill Beck, Nick Bull and the generosity of DC Randonneurs for loaning their vests to us for the weekend.

************************ Update #1 (3/28/11) *********************
The cuesheets have been updated to Draft 5, dated 3/26/11.  Pending any last minute corrections, these should be final.

Rick Carpenter completed a volunteer preride this past weekend.  With the very chilly weather, Rick "took one for the team" -- temperatures were in the mid 20's when he clipped in.  And the descent from Little Gap saw temperatures in the teens, *before* factoring in a +40MPH windchill.  Rick's preride pictures are posted here:

Along with the updated cuesheets, updated maps and an updated ride description has been posted on the event webpage:

Course Notes:
- The course is very similar to the 2010 edition, with the notable exception of the start/finish which is the Weisel Youth Hostel this year (instead of the Hampton Inn Quakertown).
- The leg to Controle 2 in Cherryville has some route tweaks for quieter roads.
- For those not familiar with the Rt 80 pedestrian walk near Water Gap, there are some details posted at the end of this link:
- The penultimate controle has been changed from the Stewartsville Deli to a 24-hr truckstop.
- The final leg to the finish has a major route tweak for quieter roads from Reigelsville.
- At mile 176 (300k) / 117 (200k), please take some extra caution.  You will be coming to a T stop on a moderate descent.  There is a fair bit of gravel at the end, and if you overshoot, you'll skid into a busy road (Rt 412).  You'll be making a left followed by quick right to cross Rt 412.  However, the traffic is very fast on Rt 412, and there is a limited-sight hazard to your left -- so be sure that road is clear before heading across.

Other notes:
The list of registered riders, along with hostel reservations and fees due, has been posted here:

There's still some room at the hostel, if you'd like stay either Friday and/or Saturday night.  PA Members can join the roster (taking both the early registration discount and member discount) by sending me an e-mail before Friday.  If you're not riding this time, I could use the help of one or two volunteers for route sweeping in the early evening.

For those unfamiliar with the hostel start/finish, there is an overview of what to expect posted here:
.... please note the parking guidelines to use the big parking lot between the road and the house (the few parking spots near the house are reserved).  Breakfast will be served 1 hour before the start and a postride meal will also be provided.

As always, please be sure to monitor the website and message board for any last minute updates -- I'm keeping a close eye on the weather forecast which is calling for snow showers at this time.

Future Events
The PA Fleche follows 2 weeks after the 300k.  Team Captains need to provide their list of controles by April 3.  Andrew Mead will be helping out with route approval.

************************** Original Post ***********************

photo courtesy of Mary Gersema

The event page has been updated and registration is now open for the PA Randonneurs' Water Gap brevet to be held on April 2. Two different courses are being offered, each staged from PA Randonneurs "headquarters" at the Weisel Youth Hostel in Quakertown. Riders working on early qualification for PBP or pursuing a Super Randonneur award can opt for the 300k course. Riders wanting to keep a R12 series alive or just getting started on their SR series can opt for the 200k course (a second 300k event will be offered in May). The 200k and the 300k are RUSA and ACP sanctioned.

Don't delay. Register today. Remember that pre-registration is required for the "classic" brevets.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

PBP Reflective Vests

Article 9 : Equipment

According to French traffic law, a reflective vest MUST be worn when riding at night (safety standard number EN1150). This equipment must be presented at the bike check.

Please see the PA Randonneurs PBP FAQ page for more information on EN1150 approved reflective vests.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spring Forward 200k - March 5, 2011

Preliminary results for the Mar 5 "Spring Forward" 200k have been posted at:
... please let me know of any corrections or other issues. Results will be sent to RUSA later this week, and then become final, pending ACP approval.

Twenty-eight riders showed up on a damp morning to ready to ride. While the weather radar showed no rain and the forecast included no chance during the day, it was hard to believe as the riders rolled out of Ephrata at 7am in a misty, drizzly fog. Damp conditions prevailed until mid-morning when the sun finally broke through the cloud cover. Then the winds picked up and challenged the riders as they made their way to and along the river.

Reports from volunteer Keith Spangler at the Bainbridge controle indicated that a large group was leading the way at near-record pace and had already outpaced much of the pack by as much as an hour in 48 miles. Apparently a few flats also help to spread out the riders. Drizzly conditions and wind was reported as the lead group passed through.

The Controle 5 Grill opened for business around 1 and the first riders arrived around 1:30. This was a hopping place for the next 2-1/2 hours as host George Metzler worked the grill on overtime to feed the hungry riders. All who arrived looked tired, ate heartily, and seemed truly relieved to learn that the final 30 miles to Ephrata would keep the wind predominately at their backs.

Tim Conway & Jon Clamp taking a well-deserved break at the Controle 5 Grill

Volunteer Rick Carpenter accompanied the lead group from Controle 5 back to the finish in order to staff the finish controle. I understand there might have been a few bonus miles logged along the way, but it wasn't enough to change the result. All six of the lead-group riders handily bested the existing course record. This includes yet another "rookie" randonneur Gavin Biebuyck who showed up and aced the course. Kudos to Len Zawodniak who finished in 8:45 to set the new brevet course record. Apparently Len has recovered from last season's cracked ribs. The rest of the field arrived in due time all logging very respectable times on the route.

I want to express my appreciation to Keith and Rick for their efforts to improve the caliber of the PA R12 series by staffing controles. It's a small gesture that means a lot to the riders and even more to an organizer. Special thanks also to George Metzler and his very tolerant family for hosting us in fine style again. (Cafe Metzler: Cheerfully increasing brevet times since 2009.) George & I are already looking ahead to 2012. These guys made my job much easier and treated me to a very memorable pre-ride that was some of the most fun I've ever had riding a bike.

I have loaded the pictures from the brevet into my photo set. Rick Carpenter also updated his PAR March Brevet photo set. Be sure to check out the photo collections linked in the rider comments. Loads of great pictures.

From Shane Beake:
Hey Andrew,
Great ride today. This course always surprises me there aren't any super climbs but there's alot of sawtooth stuff to make you legs ache, the wind didn't help. Ended up being a great day, weather was nice.

Thanks to all the volunteers, especially George Metzler for opening up his home and cooking for us, the bacon cheeseburger hit the spot.


Shane's as-always extensive collection of photos can be found at:

Len Zawodniak writes:
Thanks for a terrific day- the course was really wonderful,with the misty start, great terrain and a bit of wind to keep it interesting. Send my thanks to George for his hospitality. That was just what I needed to get me into the finish.

From Craig Martek:
. . . It was an awesome ride - very scenic, with just enough challenging climbs to make it a challenge. I need to learn how to ramp up into these longer rides though - yesterday was my 2nd time riding - the 1st time was 35 miles.

Don Jagel added:
Thanks to you and all of the volunteers for putting together a great March ride. It was good to see Keith at the Annville control. The spread that George put together was tasty and timely, allow us to relax and fuel up for the final jaunt back to Ephrata. Rick Carpenter met us at George's house and paced us back to the final control on his beloved fixie.

The weather was stereotypical March; starting with fog/mist becoming mist/fog, then a few raindrops ending with a stiff March breeze. Several of us got in a couple of bonus miles near the end by not paying attention to our cue sheets and getting suckered into bearing right with a strong and pleasurable tail wind, only to find out that we should have really turned left. That meant slowly retracing our way into the not-so-pleasurable head wind to get back on course. Oh - the lessons we learn over and over.

I really had a wonderful time. This is a very good early season ride.
Thanks to you and everyone else who helped put the ride together.
See you next month,

Don Jagel

Joe Fillip completed his R12 with yesterday's ride an says:
Andrew: Thanks to you and to all of the volunteers for a wonderful event yesterday. Special thanks to George for hosting the great barbecue at his home -- I really needed the rest and refuel at that point (as well as the course turn to the northwest that resulted in tailwinds blowing me home from that point to the finish!).

It's a challenging and scenic course, and the strong winds gusting from the southeast made the 70 miles from Annville to George's house made for a particularly vigorous ride. But, as Rick Carpenter so aptly remarked at the finish, March is SUPPOSED to be windy . . . .

Thanks again, Andrew. I am constantly struck by the friendship and support of our little randonneuring "tribe." We are truly lucky to be able to ride together.

Best, Joe

Congratulations Joe! And from Chris Newman:

Thanks for organizing a great ride yesterday. It was an impressive turnout for so early in the year. And special thanks to George for the barbecue - a burger never tasted so good. Here is a link to the photos I took.

Chris Newman

Our next event offers both 200k and 300k options starting from the Weisel Youth Hostel in Quakertown on April 2.

Andrew Mead
- organizer